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SINGAPORE, April 16 — The Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday (April 15) issued correction directives against People's Power Party founder Goh Meng Seng for Facebook posts suggesting that Covid-19 vaccines “had clear and causal links with stroke and heart attack”.
Alternative news website Singapore Uncensored was also issued a correction order by MoH yesterday.
These directives come under Singapore's anti-fake-news law, the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma).
The sites will be required to carry a correction notice alongside their posts, the ministry said in a statement.
The posts containing the falsehoods are:
― Those published on Facebook pages “Goh Meng Seng (Satu Singapura)” and “Goh Meng Seng People’s Power Party” on April 2 implying that Covid-19 vaccination had caused or substantially contributed to a stroke suffered by a doctor
― Posts published on the same Facebook pages on April 7 implying that the vaccination had caused or substantially contributed to the death of an 81-year-old man
― An article published on Singapore Uncensored and then shared on its Facebook page that claimed an 81-year-old man had died from alleged vaccination complications
MoH said that there was ”no credible evidence” for an increased risk of heart attack or stroke with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines, which are approved and offered in Singapore.
The ministry added that it was aware of falsehoods circulating that the Covid-19 vaccines had clear and causal links with stroke and heart attack, and that there were third parties who have exploited the sharing of experiences by individuals to make unsubstantiated claims about vaccine-related adverse reactions.
“They often continue to do so despite the original posts being removed or made private,” it added.
Debunking the claims made in the Facebook posts, MoH said that the medical team caring for the doctor had assessed that the doctor’s condition was “highly unlikely” to be related to the Covid-19 vaccination and that Mount Elizabeth Hospital had issued a clarification on April 4.
As for the cause of the death of the 81-year-old man referenced in the Facebook post, MOH said that he had ischaemic heart disease, or a lack of blood circulation to the heart muscles.
The Health Sciences Authority's forensic medicine division reported that based on the post-mortem, there was no evidence of acute anaphylaxis, or an allergic reaction, at the injection site of the Covid-19 vaccine, MOH added.
There was also extensive narrowing of the three main blood vessels supplying blood to the muscles of the heart due to atherosclerosis, which is the build-up of plaque over time in the blood vessels that obstruct blood flow.
The ministry gave the assurance that Covid-19 vaccines used in Singapore have been assessed to be safe and efficacious.
“Medical teams are well-equipped and measures are in place at all vaccination sites to ensure the safety of vaccine recipients pre-, during, and post-vaccination. All vaccine-related incidents are taken seriously and healthcare professionals are required to report these incidents expediently to MoH and Health Sciences Authority,” it said.
TODAY's checks yesterday morning found that the Facebook pages by Goh had put up the correction notices alongside their posts. The Singapore Uncensored website also had a correction notice on its article.
In response to queries from TODAY, Goh said that although he had put up the correction notices, it did not mean that he agreed with the ministry.
“But I’m not going to waste my time going through a legal process. I think that is futile.”
He added that he would make a statement on the correction orders during a Facebook livestream on his “Goh Meng Seng People’s Power Party” page later yesterday.
Singapore Uncensored said that its post was not put up with “any ill intention” and was only a description of what a Facebook user had said in her post.
The website's administrator added that the team was unaware that the claims were false, and that it has since complied with the directive from the Pofma Office and has informed the office of the correction that has been made.
“The author who wrote the post is apologetic and the team has decided to stop covering all Covid-19 news or information if it's not from official channels such as MoH,” the administrator said. ― TODAY